By Kevin Lankes


The area surrounding Joint Base Lewis McChord is packed full of things to do. And on base is no different. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, shopping, or a bit of culture, Lewis McChord has you covered.

COVID-19 Notice

Due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, many businesses, venues, and parks may be temporarily closed or operating under restricted hours. Many, if not all, of the ones listed here, are likely subject to health restrictions, though new re-openings and closings occur all the time. Check websites and call ahead to learn each listing’s current status.

19 Things to do Near Joint Base Lewis McChord

There are numerous options for blowing off steam on base and around the area. Join a bowling league, take the family to a water park, or puzzle your way out of an escape room. Know what you are looking for? Click the number(s) to get right to it: (1-4) Recreation (5) Bowling (6-9) Museums (10-11) Shopping (12-15) Gyms (16-19) Parks, Fishing, and Hunting Recreations spots near Joint Base Lewis Mcchord


1. Adventures Unlimited

739 Battery Road JBLM-McChord Field 1 (253) 982-2206 The best local venue for renting outdoor and camping equipment. Whatever outdoor sport or activity you or your family is into, they have the equipment, all year round. From skis, to boats, snowboards, grills, and tents, they have everything you’ll need. Items must be returned by 2pm on the due date. Adventures Unlimited is closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Federal Way

2. Wild Waves Theme and Water Park
36201 Enchanted Parkway South Federal Way, Washington 98003 1 (253) 661-8000 Wild Waves comprises a theme park with thrill rides as well as family friendly attractions, and a water park with plenty of pools, waterslides, and tubing. The park offers private cabana rentals in three different packages, from bungalows to villas. There are group rates for ticketing, season passes with meal plans, a party deck for rent, and a Wild Waves military discount.


3. Enigma Escapes
101 S 10th St Tacoma, WA 98402 1 (253) 272-2799 With four escape rooms, team-building activities, and party rentals, Tacoma’s Enigma Escapes is a great way to discover new ways to be frustrated at old friends.
4. Warrior Zone
11592 17th and D St. Tacoma, WA 98433 1 (253) 477-5756 The best rec site for soldiers in Tacoma, period. This sprawling facility features e-sports tournaments, movies, trivia, a fire pit with wall mounted HD TVs, a billiards room, and much more. Stop by the cafe for great food, coffee, and beer from the tap. JBLM Bowling

JBLM Bowling

5. Bowl Arena Lanes

2166 Liggett Ave Fort Lewis, WA 98433 1 (253) 967-4661 Strike out in style without straying far from home. This modern facility offers recreational bowling as well as adult and youth leagues. Enjoy a drink in the lounge equipped with a full bar. Special deals offered on Sundays.

Joint Base Lewis Mcchord Museum

There are tons of excellent places to take in a bit of culture around Lewis McChord and beyond. Here are just some of them.

6. Lewis Army Museum

4320 Main St. and Constitution Dr. Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA 98433 1 (253) 967-7206 The Joint Base Lewis Mcchord Museum is inside the Red Shield Inn, a historic building that dates back to the First World War. It’s the only military museum on the West Coast certified by the U.S. Army.

7. McChord Air Museum

Building 517 JBLM-McChord Field, WA. 98438 1 (253)-982-2485 The Lewis Air Museum is made up of the main museum building, the air park, and the restoration hangar. Admission to the museum is free, but appointments must be made to visit the restoration hangar. Virtual exhibitions are available on the website.


8. Job Carr Cabin Museum
2350 N 30th St Tacoma, WA 98403 1 (253) 627-5405 Come see a replica cabin from the late 1800s. Here, staff portrays life as it was in the area back then. You’ll hear stories and learn about Job, a veteran of the Union Army and first non-Native American to permanently settle in Tacoma.

Federal Way

9. Pacific Bonsai Museum
2515 S 336th Street Federal Way, WA 98001 1 (253) 353-7345 With bonsai trees from all over the world, the collection here is the largest in the United States. They have over 150 trees and a display that rotates with the seasons.


Knowing where to shop is vital when you’re moving to a new area. Here are a few options to get you started.

10. McChord Thrift Shop

Battery Rd & 4th St McChord AFB, WA 98438 1 (253) 982-2468 A great place to pick up new trends for less. Or, you can donate things you’ve grown out of and put your collectibles or electronics up for consignment.


11. Lakewood Towne Center
5731 Main St SW Lakewood, WA 98499 1 (253) 584-6191 A full-service shopping mall with everything you could need. Come to Lakewood Towne Center and check out their restaurants, gyms, hair salons, and more. Joint Base Lewis Mcchord Gyms

Joint Base Lewis Mcchord Gyms

After all the fun you’ll be having on and off base, make sure to stay active with a regular dose of healthy living. Fitness is an important factor for any service member moving to a new base. Fortunately, this is one place you won’t have to look very hard to stay in shape.

12. McChord Fitness Center

729 5th St. JBLM-McChord Field, WA. 98438 1 (253) 982-6707 A full-service gym on base. The fitness center houses a weight room, cardio machines, a stretching room, and courts for basketball, volleyball, and racquetball.

13. McChord Outdoor Pool

736 5th St McChord AFB, WA 98438 1 (253) 982-2807 The McChord Outdoor Pool is just outside the McChord Fitness Center. It’s open daily from 11am to 6pm.

14. Sheridan Fitness Center

3759 Stryker Ave Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA 98433 1 (253) 967-7311 This on-base gym focuses on practical fitness and features a weight room, tank sleds, an alpha warrior rig, and cardio machines.


15. Tacoma Twin Rinks
2645 S 80th St Tacoma, WA 98409 1 (253) 272-7825 Keep your cardio in check with the available classes and pickup hockey games available. Try out figure skating or curling. And if you don’t know how to skate, they have you covered there, too. Parks, Fishing, and Hunting near Joint Base Lewis Mcchord

Parks, Fishing, and Hunting

16. JBLM Fishing and Hunting

8050 Nco Beach Rd Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA 98433 1 (253) 967-7744 Register at the Northwest Adventure Center to take advantage of Lewis McChord’s lakes, ranges, and hunting areas.


17. Point Defiance Park
5400 N Pearl St Tacoma, WA 98407 1 (253) 305-1088 An enormous 760-acre park with numerous attractions, Point Defiance Park has something for everyone. Inside, there’s a zoo and aquarium, a living history museum, beaches and boat launches, a dog park, wildlife and hiking trails, and much more.
18. Puget Creek Natural Area
N Lawrence St & Alder Way Tacoma, WA 98407 1 (253) 305-1000 A secluded natural area in the middle of Tacoma. It’s a great place for a jog, or a leisurely stroll by the waterfront.


19. Fort Steilacoom Park
8714 87th Ave SW Lakewood, WA 98498 1 (253) 983-7887 A beautiful park with baseball and soccer fields, hiking, playgrounds, and a dog park.


It’s easy to see how you and your family could keep busy without ever leaving the gate at Lewis McChord. But the surrounding area includes cities like Tacoma, Lakewood, and Federal Way are just loaded with things to do. Check out the items on this list, and look for more recommendations along the way. There’s simply too much to choose from when it comes to available activities on base and off.  

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.




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